Daily Archives: November 25, 2008

unreported words from elbaradei

UN nuclear agency chief critical of US
George Jahn, VIENNA, Austria (AP)

The chief UN nuclear inspector has urged caution against prematurely judging Syria’s atomic program by reminding diplomats about false US claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, comments released Tuesday show. Speaking at a closed meeting of the IAEA’s board on Monday, ElBaradei did not mention the US by name, but his reference to claims that Saddam had a secret chemical, nuclear and biological weapons program — assertions that helped form the US rationale for the invasion of Iraq — made it clear that his criticism was directed mostly at Washington. After the US and its allies questioned Syria’s right to his agency’s help in planning a power-producing atomic reactor, ElBaradei said:

There were claims against Iraq, which proved to be baseless, but only after a terrible war. Investigation is one thing, clear-cut proof of innocence or guilt is another … and all of you, even if you are not lawyers, know that people and countries are innocent until proven guilty.

more world leaders state the obvious

Reflections of Fidel
Granma, Nov 23 2008

Stella Calloni’s book Operation Condor exposes a series of atrocious crimes recently committed by the US against the Latin American peoples. It is a basic text for understanding the real meaning of the Yankee imperialism. It is the most objective and detailed denunciation that I have read to date, unsurpassed in its style and eloquence. She gives an impressive list of outstanding figures, both military and civilian, vilely assassinated inside and outside their respective countries, including such prestigious personalities as the Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the Chilean Generals Schneider and Prats, presidents of other nations, as well as the conspiracy in Chile which concluded with the death of Salvador Allende and the establishment of a fascist government. There were US Presidents directly involved, like Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr. Stella Calloni is known in our country for Operation Condor. But it was the paper given by the Argentine author to the International Conference Revolution and Intervention in Latin America, which took place recently in Caracas, which called my attention to her again. She sent a copy of the paper to us in Cuba.

She refers to a silent invasion on all fronts: the weapon of disinformation, the neocolonization of Latin America, the “backyard” as the “strategic reserve” of the empire, operative counterinsurgency, the “soft” blows, the informatics intoxication, left-wing groups acting together with extreme-right pro-coup sectors; the powerful enemy deliberately assaulting the soul of the peoples, their culture and identity; advanced colonialists and belated colonialisms. The author reminds us of the brutal invasion of Panama on Dec 20 1989, preceded by a disinformation campaign which, in this case, managed to penetrate progressive and leftist sectors. She recalls incredible and crude media manipulation of the reasons advanced by the US to invade the small nation of little more than two million inhabitants — a country divided into two by a colonial enclave maintained there by the hegemonic power since the beginning of the past century — and the still incomprehensible paralysis of Latin America. Up until today, she told us, it is unknown that thousands of people died there. “Panama was the Guernica of Latin America.” She goes on to add that the UN had a “paper presence in all these conflicts.”

Al-Qaeda, spawned by the empire itself, is a typical example of an enemy that the hegemonic power places where it needs to in order to then justify its actions, in the same way that, throughout history, it has manufactured enemies and attacks aimed at advancing its plans for domination. The pretext of the National Security of the US to justify its crimes preceded the attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers on Sep 11 2001. In that kind of a way she continues wielding irrefutable arguments and evidence. Her paper is a synthesis of no more than 20 pages. She expresses sincere admiration for the revolutionary processes in Cuba and Venezuela and their courageous struggles in the vicinity of the neocolonial metropolis. The meaning of that struggle can be understood merely by recalling some of the phrases uttered by George W. Bush, a president with only 58 more days left to complete his current term as leader of the empire. In the midst of the crisis lashing the world, he stated at the APEC Summit in Lima:

Over the decades, the free market system has proved the most efficient way … The third great force for economic growth in this region is the limitless potential of free peoples … any government that is honest with its people … will have a partner in the United States of America … our partners can be confident that the compassionate agenda of the United States of America will continue. We shall continue to inspire the world. God bless you.

Only an incurable cynic could make such statements. And while he was proclaiming that in Lima, news was coming in from the US on the gravity of the crisis and the growing number of the unemployed. The companies in that country’s automobile industry are urgently demanding a share of the $700b allocated to tackle the most severe crisis in dozens of years. They have stated that the bankruptcy of just one of the big corporations in that sector would mean laying off two-and-a-half million workers. These are skyrocketing sums of money and of people affected, in the country aspiring to continue inspiring the market.

scheming atlantists

Historian says ‘genocidal’ Ukrainian famine theory born in US
SIMFEROPOL, Nov 24 (RIA Novosti)

The theory that the Stalin-era famine in Ukraine was aimed against the Ukrainian people alone was developed in the US as an anti-Russian propaganda tool, a Crimean legislator and historian said on Monday. “The theory that the famine was aimed against the Ukrainian nation was born in the US in 1984 during the fight against the Soviet Union, ‘the empire of evil’,” said Anatolyi Zhilin. He added that “Russophobe” Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as an adviser to Kennedy and Johnson administration officials during the 1960s, and the current wife of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko were involved in creating the myth, designed to “unite the Ukrainian nation in the face of a ‘common enemy’ — Russia and the Russians.” Yushchenko’s wife, Kateryna Yushchenko, is a former US State Department official who was also a White House employee under Reagan. She also worked at the US Treasury and was on the staff at the US Congress. She became a Ukrainian citizen in 2005. Zhilin expressed his worries that the Ukrainian security services, “not professional historians,” were currently beefing up public interest in the topic by unearthing archival data. The legislator also said most residents of Crimea, a predominantly Russian-speaking area of Ukraine, refused to treat the Holodomor as an act of genocide against Ukrainians. “The theory that Russians starved Ukrainians in the 20th century is absolutely unacceptable for the majority of the Crimean population,” Zhilin said. Most residents of Crimea abstained from attending official events last Saturday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine.

lively writing from pakistan

Egypt bolsters Gaza border force
Israel watchdog releases video of police head-butting Arabs

Pakistan News, Nov 25 2008

EL-ARISH, Egypt/OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Egypt on Monday sent 400 police to bolster security at its Rafah border terminal with the Gaza Strip amid demonstrations by Palestinians calling for the crossing to be opened. The officers were deployed around the crossing point — the sole Gaza frontier post which bypasses Israel — “to deal with any possible violence by Palestinian demonstrators,” a security official told AFP. Hundreds of Palestinians have been gathering on the Gaza side of the border crossing since Saturday, demanding the crossing be opened for the sick to receive medical attention and for Muslim pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia. A demonstration by Palestinian women was due to take place later on Monday, the official said. Earlier this month, Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip to allow thousands of students and people needing medical attention to leave the besieged Palestinian territory. Israel said on Monday it allowed some supplies into Gaza amid mounting international concern over the worsening humanitarian situation for the territory’s 1.5m inhabitants, virtually sealed off from the outside world.

Meanwhile, Israeli human rights watchdog B’Tselem released video footage on Monday of a helmeted Israeli policeman head-butting a Palestinian woman during a house demolition in Arab east Jerusalem. The video shows the policeman head-butting the white-headscarved woman who is engaged in a heated discussion with officers. Seconds later he is seen to also head-butt a male resident. “On Nov 5, the Jerusalem municipality demolished a house in Silwan,” B’Tselem said in a statement accompanying the video. “During the eviction of its residents, a helmeted policeman head-butted two of the residents,” it added. “What happened was filmed by a B’Tselem member. The footage was handed to the military police who have opened an inquiry but B’Tselem has yet to be notified of its findings,” the watchdog said, adding that it considered police violence to be unacceptable.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that an inquiry had been opened as into all allegations of violence by officers. But he added that it was important to understand that police had themselves come under sustained attack in Silwan earlier in the day. “The same day there were riots and major disturbances in the neighbourhood,” he said. “Five policemen were wounded and taken to hospital. Eleven locals were arrested for throwing stones at policemen and a petrol bomb. Six police vehicles had windows broken. Police dealt with those disturbances for several hours.” Last year, B’Tselem launched a campaign called “Shooting back” in which it handed out hundreds of cameras to Palestinians to allow them to film any violence they endured. A senior officer was suspended in July after the watchdog released footage of a Palestinian demonstrator being fired on at point-blank range with a rubber-coated bullet.

caution : psywar boffin at play

Russian analyst predicts decline and breakup of US
MOSCOW, Nov 24 (RIA Novosti)

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the US has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts. Professor Igor Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare. Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily Izvestia published on Monday: “The dollar is not secured by anything. The country’s foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse.” The paper said Panarin’s dire predictions for the US economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year’s events. When asked when the US economy would collapse, Panarin said: “It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world’s financial regulator.”

When asked who would replace the US in regulating world markets, he said: “Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia.” Asked why he expected the US to break up into separate parts, he said: “A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the US will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles.” He also cited the “vulnerable political setup”, “lack of unified national laws”, and “divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions.”

He predicted that the US will break up into six parts — the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong. He even suggested that “we could claim Alaska — it was only granted on lease, after all.” On the fate of the US dollar, he said: “In 2006 a secret agreement was reached between Canada, Mexico and the US on a common Amero currency as a new monetary unit. This could signal preparations to replace the dollar. The one-hundred dollar bills that have flooded the world could be simply frozen. Under the pretext, let’s say, that terrorists are forging them and they need to be checked.” When asked how Russia should react to his vision of the future, Panarin said: “Develop the ruble as a regional currency. Create a fully functioning oil exchange, trading in rubles … We must break the strings tying us to the financial Titanic, which in my view will soon sink.”

david ray griffin gets a good review

Web Exclusive Reviews: Week of 11/24/2008
Publishers Weekly, 11/24/2008

Web Pick of the Week

The New Pearl Harbor Revisited : 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé
Author : David Ray Griffin (386p)
Publr. : Interlink/Olive Branch, $20
ISBN : 9781566567299

Author and professor Griffin (9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press) knows his work is referred to by officials and the media as conspiracy theory, and he has a rebuttal : “the official theory is itself a conspiracy theory.” In this companion volume to 2004’s The New Pearl Harbor : Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, Griffin provides corrections, raises new issues and discusses “the two most important official reports about 9/11,” the 9/11 Commission Report and the National Institute of Standards and Technology report on the Twin Towers, both “prepared by people highly responsive to the wishes of the White House” and riddled with “omission and distortion from beginning to end.” Griffin addresses many points in exhaustive detail, from the physical impossibility of the official explanation of the towers’ collapse to the Commission’s failure to scrutinize the administration to the NIST’s contradiction of its own scientists to the scads of eyewitness and scientific testimony in direct opposition to official claims. Citing hundreds, if not thousands, of sources, Griffin’s detailed analysis is far from reactionary or delusional, building a case that, though not conclusive, raises enough valid and disturbing questions to make his call for a new investigation more convincing than ever. (Oct.)

how long will sheldon adelson stay broke?

Freedom’s Watch effort winding down :
Conservative group’s future undecided

Molly Ball, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nov 24 2008

Freedom’s Watch, the conservative group backed by Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, is pretty much kaput, sources with knowledge of the organization said. The group’s dozens of staffers have been paid through the end of the year. After that, Freedom’s Watch is likely to shut its doors permanently, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Technically an issue-advocacy group rather than a political campaign arm, Washington-based Freedom’s Watch spent $30m on television and radio ads in the general election, plus an undisclosed amount on mail and phone-call campaigns. It was active in four US Senate races and about three dozen congressional races, said spokesman Ed Patru, though he declined to say how the group’s favored candidates did on Nov 4. “Our focus was to impact the debate,” he said. Considering the bloodbath that befell Republicans, whom the group was typically inclined to support, it’s safe to say Freedom’s Watch did not have a good Election Night.

Patru, the group’s spokesman, confirmed that much of the staff was on its way out but said this was always the plan based on the cyclical nature of electoral politics. “Some staff are departing at the end of the year under the original terms of their employment,” Patru said. “Much of the departing staff was brought in specifically to help with the anticipated increase in workload that comes along with an election year, when more attention is paid to public policy debates.” As for the organization’s future, Patru maintained it was yet to be decided by the board of directors, which includes former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and Sands Corp. President Bill Weidner. “In the coming weeks and months, the organization will downsize,” Patru said. “In terms of the future and what role the organization will play, those decisions will be made in the very near future.”

Adelson reportedly was the source of the overwhelming majority of the group’s funding as well as the guiding force behind its decisions. But the 75-year-old casino executive, whose company owns the Venetian and Palazzo, has suffered his own reversals of late. The company has lost roughly 95% of its stock market value over the past 11 months, dropping Adelson’s rank on the Forbes list of America’s wealthiest people from third to 15th. At the end of October, a New York compensation consulting firm estimated Adelson’s net worth had fallen by more than $16.6b for the year. Sands has suspended construction on projects in Las Vegas and Macau, and the company recently said it was in danger of defaulting on $5.2b in credit facilities. Through a company spokesman, Adelson declined to comment last week on his political ventures.

u.s. witch hunts continue

Supporters of Holy Land defendants accuse
government of preying on fear
Tanya Eiserer, Jason Trahan, Dallas Morning News, Nov 25 2008

The verdicts came down slowly and cast a pall over an already somber courtroom. “Guilty” was heard over and over again. Most family members and friends of the five defendants in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial remained stoic Monday as justice was meted out, but one person sobbed: “My dad is not a criminal. He’s a human!” For the roughly 150 supporters at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas, that may best summarize their take on the outcome of one of the nation’s biggest and most important terrorism financing trials. Supporters say the government’s case was built on fear-mongering, and they stand by long-held assertions that Holy Land was a legitimate charity concerned only with providing relief to Palestinians living in poverty and hardship under the decades-long Israeli occupation. Some supporters cried quietly after the verdicts were read. Some looked in shock, disbelief registering on their faces. Tension filled the air. As people began to quietly file out of the courtroom, many supporters shouted words of encouragement to the defendants. Some of the defendants defiantly flashed victory signs. Defense attorneys did not talk to the Dallas Morning News, but are already discussing appeals.

The subdued reaction to the verdicts was in cold contrast to the jubilation they felt 13 months ago as the first Holy Land trial ended mostly in a mistrial when a confused and beleaguered jury deadlocked after 19 days of deliberations. The second jury wrestled just eight days with the massive and complex case. Holy Land and its leadership had been investigated since the early 1990s. Bush announced that the foundation had been shut down in 2001. Indictments came in 2004. John Wolf, a friend and member of the Hungry for Justice coalition, said he’d known the defendants for 12 years. “I’m not surprised,” he said of the verdicts. “I think the government had their do-over and they learned from their mistakes. It’s hard to accept because I don’t believe the gentlemen are guilty. These guys are the sweetest, clean-hearted people.”

During the trial, defense attorneys accused the government of bending to Israeli pressure to prosecute the charity, and of relying on old evidence. But jurors agreed with the government’s contention that at least $12m raised in the US had been illegally funneled to Hamas after that organization was banned as a terrorist group by the federal government in 1995. In light of the crimes and the likely length of their sentences, which will come later, the judge ordered that all five defendants be immediately taken into custody. One, Ghassan Elashi, is already serving a 6½ yr sentence in federal prison for export law violations. His daughter, an outspoken critic of the prosecution, read a statement calling the verdicts a low point for the USA. “My dad is a law-abiding citizen,” said Noor Elashi. “My dad was persecuted for his political beliefs and his humanitarian work in Palestine. … He saved lives and now he’s paying the price. I’m very proud of him.” Ms. Elashi, visibly angry, said she had not shed any tears over the verdicts because she knew that her father was being persecuted “because he saved lives.” “I feel heartbroken that a group of my fellow Americans fell for the prosecution’s fear-mongering,” she said. “This is not over,” she added.

Some supporters have said that the defendants, even if convicted, would be considered freedom fighters or folk heroes. Peter Margulies, a Roger Williams University law professor who studies terrorism financing cases, said the government has won the case, but has work to do for American Muslims. “Going forward … the government must be more pro-active about furnishing guidance to Muslim-Americans who merely wish to fulfill their religious obligations,” he said. That may be too little, too late for some. Mohammed Wafa Yaish, Holy Land’s former accountant and a witness of the trial, said after the verdicts were read that he is angry that the prosecution brought up the Taliban and al-Qaeda during the trial. “What does giving charity to the Palestinians in the refugee camps have to do with this?” he said. “They scared the jurors. Fear is the No. 1 government tactic.”

great anti-lobby article from september

Israel Lobby’s US Treasury Follies Hurt
Grant F. Smith, Dissident Voice, Sep 16 2008 (extracts)

According to the JPost, the US Department of Treasury’s new Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) unit is going after the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.  TFI targeted the company and 18 affiliates for their alleged effort to “facilitate the transport of cargo for UN Designated proliferators.” TFI further charges it “falsifies documents and uses deceptive schemes to shroud its involvement in illicit commerce.” Later in the same article, AIPAC trumpets this as yet another victory in its drive to confront the Islamic Republic of Iran:

AIPAC strongly supports these steps which are part of a coordinated effort by the US and the international community to ratchet up the pressure on Iran and convince it to suspend its illicit nuclear activities. These steps send an important signal that America continues to lead the effort to confront and stop Iran’s nuclear pursuit.

But is America actually in the driver’s seat of this destabilizing brinksmanship? History suggests that it is not. AIPAC and its associated think tank, WINEP, were instrumental in lobbying the president for the creation of the TFI early in 2004. The Israel lobby also vetted Stuart Levey who Bush approved to lead the new unit. TFI claims to be “safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats.” However its actions — and more important, inactions — reveal it to be a sharp-edged tool forged principally to serve the Israel lobby. TFI has taken no actions to undercut one nexus of money laundering in the Middle East unveiled in 2005 by Israeli prosecutor Talia Sasson and exposed by USA Today. Even mainstream print outlets such as Reuters continue to wonder aloud why US tax exemptions are offered for illegal overseas activities. Although Stuart Levey has made multiple official visits to Jerusalem to liaise with Israeli government officials, when formally asked under a FOIA request to reveal how TFI was tackling the reported $50b-$60b laundered from the US through Israel and into illegal West Bank settlements, TFI politely demurred (.pdf). TFI claims that Levey’s US-taxpayer-funded missions to Israel must be kept secret from the American public in order to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act, which ironically is an anti-money-laundering law. This is not to say that TFI is a black box to everyone. Invited guests and members of WINEP have received many intimate briefings from TFI officials and consultants — possibly more than the entire US Congress. […]

Looking back, it is painfully obvious that the US should have accepted the comprehensive “Grand Bargain” tendered by Iranian moderates in 2003. Iran’s $753b economy would be a highly productive trading partner for the US — Iran’s competitive advantages in energy are well matched with the US’s high-tech, engineering service and machinery exports. Instead, we have AIPAC continually disrupting trade flows against the broader American interest. AIPAC has a history of directing US trade policy against the interests of American producers and workers. In 1984, the FBI found AIPAC in possession of purloined secret International Trade Commission documents that US government officials solicited from private industry in order to negotiate a favorable bilateral free trade agreement with Israel. AIPAC promptly used this stolen information against the American worker — the subsequent FTA has yielded a $63b net US trade deficit with Israel between 1989 and 2007.

The grinding march toward a pointless war with Iran is not really about America’s own best interests. It’s not that Stuart Levey doesn’t know how Israeli extremism can endanger the US. Levey’s Fulbright-grant-funded undergraduate thesis was all about Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born rabbi who founded the Israeli group Kach. Kahane Chai (Kach) currently occupies slot number 20 on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. While the buttoned-down Levey is certainly not an extremist of Kahane’s violent mold, his AIPAC-sponsored financial warfare is clearly extreme. Levey and his supporters are threatening US trading partners, banks, multinational corporations, independent shippers, small trade related businesses and the international shipping system. The only beneficiary of the action is Israel — a non-signatory to the NPT and longtime owner of its own nuclear weapons — an arsenal financed and created, in large part, by precisely the kinds of “deceptive schemes” and “illicit commerce” toward which TFI consciously turns a blind eye. In contrast, Iran signed the NPT, is under active IAEA monitoring, and is not enriching uranium to levels sufficient for nuclear weapons production.

from mckinney’s banned damascus speech

[…] I have felt the sting of the special interests since my entry onto the national stage when, in my very first Congressional campaign, I refused to sign a pledge committing that I would vote to maintain the military superiority of Israel over its neighbors, and that Jerusalem should be its capital city. Other commitments were on that pledge as well, like continued financial assistance to Israel at agreed upon levels. As a result of my refusal to make such a commitment, and just like the old slave woman, Sojourner Truth, who bared her back and showed the scars from the lashes meted out to her by her slave master, I too, bear scars from the lashes of public humiliation meted out to me by the special interests in Washington, D.C. because of my refusal to tow the line on Israel policy. […]

Cynthia McKinney, Dissident Voice